Monday, November 14, 2016

Tatra Museum, Koprivince

The Tatra Technicke Muzeum is in Koprivinice, in north-eastern Czechia. Koprivinice is, of course, the home of Tatra and the technical museum is the foundation that stores and exhibits Tatra's archive of historic vehicles. From Prague its a four hour train trip involving three changes, so it isn't the easiest place to get to, but the museum is fantastic so its well worth the trip.

In front of the museum stands the Slovenska Strela (Slovak Arrow aka Tatra 68), a streamlined diesel-electric railway coach. The Arrow was built in 1936 and remained in service until 1953. The train is protected under an awning but is in need of restoration. Behind the train to the right you can see the Tatra Hotel where we stayed.

The presentation below follows the route through the museum.

A replica of the first Nesseldorfer car - the Prasident of 1898. The Prasident was the first automobile built in Central Europe. The actual original car is preserved in the Prague Technical Museum.

Four Tatra T12s in various body styles. The Tatra T12, with its central tube chassis, air-cooled engine and all round suspension, truly was a revolutionary step in the evolution of the automobile.

Roadster bodied Tatra T12

Display case of Tatra maquettes. These were used for styling purposes and wind tunnel testing.

An early Paul Jaray maquette for the Tatra 77. The curved windscreen was a particular feature of Jaray's early designs.

The Tatra 87 maquette

The Tatra 97 maquette

The early Tatraplan maquette show the simplified lines of post-war austerity.

This second Tatraplan maquette includes the production false radiator grill

An early Tatra 603 maquette. The body styling is similar to the production car but the bonnet and front is styled like the earlier Tatraplan.

Tatra 603 type 1 maquette. The covered rear wheel was abandoned in the production vehicle.

A Vignale bodied 613. It is a great pity that this handsome car never made it into production.

Pre-war Nesseldorfers. On the right is the 1902 Nesseldorfer Type B and the left a 1912 Nesseldorfer Type S.

In terms of scale the Type S is enormous. The type came in

A Steyr of 1925. These enormous cars were designed by Hans Ledwinka after he left Tatra were based on the earlier Nesseldorfers.

Hans Ledwinka's revolutionary 'People's Car' - the Tatra T11. Gone were the heavy chassis rails and enormous engine, replaced by a simple tube chassis which doubled as a transmission tunnel and at its front a compact, air-cooled boxer engine. Combined with independently suspended wheels, this robust little car could comfortably tackle the terrible road conditions in Central Europe.

Tatra T11 limousine

Tatra T12 coupe

Tatra T57s

The Tatra 57 was a modernised and improved T12 developed in 1934. It was probably Tatra's most successful car.

The Tatra T11 template was extremely versatile, being able to be stretched to limousine form and accommodating a four cylinder engine.

As an offshoot of the T57 project, Erich Ledwinka and Erich Uberlacker developed a rear-engined test car. This was developed further by Uberlacker, Hans Ledwinka and Paul Jaray into a budget streamlined car, which received the designation V570. Only two test examples were built. Both were later sold to private owners. One was lost but this one was driven until the 1960s when it was purchased by the Tatra foundation. The car is powered by a two-cylinder T57 engine mounted in the rear.

Tatraplan Monte Carlo rally car. Unlike other Tatraplans it only has two doors and the body is aluminium.

Like other companies involved in the Nazi war economy, Tatra was stripped of its assets and machinery after World War Two. The Czechoslovak government nationalized the company in 1945 and set to work building necessary consumer goods. This is a Tatra kneading machine.

Tatra refridgerator

Tatraplan four cylinder boxer engine 1952cc

Tatra 603 V8 engine

Tatra 603 model 2

Tatraplan 1948-52.

Tatra T77A 1934-35. Tatra introduced the stunning T77 in early 1934 while the car was still in development. Consequently no two T77s were exactly alike. By late 1934 the car had settled into something of a 'standard' configuration, most obviously the addition of the signature three headlights. Only 134 T77 and 77As were built.

Tatra's archetypical T87 and Stalin's Sodomika bodied Tatraplan coupe

Tatra 87 and 77

1938 Tatra 97 and the Tatraplan coupe

Tatra 603 ambulance

Vignale bodied Tatra 603 prototype. This promising Italian styled car unfortunately never made it into production.

T603 and Tatraplan

Tatra also build aircraft and aircraft engines in the interwar period. The Tatra T131 was a licensed copy of the German Bruckmann. Following Germany's annexation of the Czech republic Tatra's aircraft manufacturing arm was shut down.

A view down on the streamliner section

The Tatra 87 and 77A

The Tatra T87 and 77A

View down on the Tatraplan

The military version of the T57

Tatra 72 light truck. Jiri Baum drove a T72 like this across Australia and around the world during a series of expeditions in the mid 1930s.

Tatra is remembered mainly for its rear-engined streamliners, but Tatra also built conventional front engined cars based on the earlier Nesseldorfer designs.

Tatra 80

Tatra 17/31

Tatra Type S fire engine

The racing section, led by the Tatra T605 racer trainer of 1957

Tatra Type T racer. This late 20s racer was based on the earlier Nesseldorfers

Tatra Type S

Tatra 607 Monoposto 1953

Tatra 613

The last Tatra cars - the Tatra 700

Tatra railway service car (based on a Tatra 12 chassis and body)

The chassis and engine of the Tatra T77a. Although you cannot see from the photo, the floorplan is made of plywood. This was not such an unusual thing in the 1930s and the T77 itself was of wood framed construction.

Tatra 49 triporter chassis. Many companies in the 1920s and 30s bought out commercial triporters but these were usually based on motorcycle components. Tatra's light commercial triporter was based on the Tatra 11 chassis and was therefore a far more substantial affair. The car was powered by a single cylinder 529cc engine that was essentially half of a T12 engine. The car could be bodied as a single seater motorcycle with tray or with an enclosed car body. Not the curved exhaust running along the chassis.

The Tatra aerosledge. This prototype propeller and tracked vehicle was developed for the German army's use on the Russian front in 1943. The Russians made extensive use of light motor sleds during their winter campaigns, which the Germans attempted to copy. Tatra built several experimental aerosledges but they did not progress to production.

Tatra's enormous truck engines culminating in a gigantic W24 layout.

Tatra's pioneering 'lieferwagen' of 1899. The world's first truck. The two cylinder engine was mounted between the rear wheels under the tray. The original truck is long gone. This is a replica.

Tatra's 1898 truck

Two of Tatra's wartime trucks; the Tatra 93 and Tatra 27. The Tatra 27 heavy truck and its many variants was used extensively by the Germans. The Tatra 93 medium truck was built for the Romanian army.

The Tatra T111 - Tatra's most successful truck was introduced in 1945 and would continue in production into the late 1960s.

The successor to the Tatra T111 was the T138, which entered service in 1959 remained in production until 1971. It enjoyed significant export success.

If any Tatra truck could be called 'cute' it must be the T805 'baby'

Tatra T813 Dakar rally truck

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